Here we are, 365 days later. We set up The Student Journals to be a platform where students could express themselves; voice their opinions; hone their skills of articulation and debate.
Beyond all expectation, the site has been recognised and commended for what it’s achieved in that year. Next month the TSJ team are heading to the Guardian Student Media Awards where we’ve been nominated for the Website of the Year. Several members of the writing team have been listed as the best and most influential bloggers in the country. And in just twelve months we’ve had some 77,000 hits on the site.
But the measure of success is not awards, pageviews or rankings. The real litmus test is whether we’re meeting our goals. Five simple goals are stated on the back of the TSJ marketing card: write, comment, interact, express, represent.
If you’ve seen the front page at any time in the last year you’ll have noticed the shear breadth of articles we post. Informed feature length pieces on the Arab Spring, intelligent debate over contentious issues, critical analyses of sporting events, rapturous reviews of music and theatre, live blogs on defining occasions and even interviews with the most prominent movers and shakers around: you name it, we’ve done it.
The last year has seen some truly significant moments: the vote on an increase to tuition fees, political upheaval in the Middle East, the phone-hacking scandal and riots across the country. Students have written articles about all of these issues. But what is most distinctive about TSJ is the simple breadth of opinion on any given issue. We’re a non-partisan organisation, so anyone can write – no student should feel alienated or feel that their view does not matter. Our writer base is growing week-by-week: at last count it stood at 76 contributors. If you haven’t written for us – get involved.
TSJ is all about opportunity and development. That’s why we established TSJ Youth: a platform for pre-university students to express themselves, a first chance for many. One of our goals over the next year is to develop this and take it to the next level.
One other step we’ve taken is to add Guest Blogs, a section where we identify people to write about areas in which they are more knowledgeable and experienced. Aaron Porter (former NUS President) wrote earlier this year about the tuition fees; another gave us an insight into the protests on 26 March. Today, we launched TSJ Global, which asks students from around the world to write about an issue that affects them, with an article about the Republican candidates for the 2012 US president election.
A year on, TSJ is still nascent - we can all do so much with it. We want your ideas, your thoughts, your input. Write, comment, interact. And let’s take The Student Journals onwards and upwards